Crazy Things That Happened In 2019 So Far
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
2019 so far has been quite the eventful year, for better or for worse. For this list, weâ€™ll be looking at the most impactful, shocking, and controversial events that have occurred during the first six months of 2019. What do YOU think is the craziest thing that's happened so far in 2019? Let us know in the comments.
Script written by Nathan Sharp
10 Crazy Things That Happened in 2019 So Far
This year has already seen its fair share of crazy stories. These are just a few of them. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down 10 crazy things that happened in 2019 so far.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most impactful, shocking, and controversial events that have occurred during the first six months of 2019. We’ll only be including current affairs on this list, so pop culture will be excluded (even though it’s been a big year for that as well!).
The Notre Dame Fire
Paris’ iconic Notre Dame cathedral has stood for almost a thousand years, but in 2019 we almost lost it! On April 15, the cathedral caught fire, and everyone feared the worst. Some of the more valuable and timeless relics were moved to safety, and we all watched in horror as the 150-year-old spire collapsed in a massive column of flames and smoke. Luckily, the fire was extinguished before it could consume the entire cathedral, but it was too late for the spire, roof, and upper walls. The tragedy prompted an outpouring of grief and support, and over €1 billion has been donated for the cathedral’s reconstruction - which could take decades.
Sandy Hook Families Win Lawsuits
It’s been a bad year for Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists. The first blow came when far-right radio host Alex Jones, who’s argued that the elementary school shooting never happened, was banned from Facebook. His content had been removed from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify in 2018. The next blow came in June, when father Lenny Pozner won a lawsuit against James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, authors of a book titled “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook”. Pozner also settled a case with publisher Moon Rocks Books; the book has since ceased publication and will no longer be available for purchase. The events came after the grieving families, fed up with death threats and constant harassment, decided to fight back.
Julian Assange Is Arrested
It was really just a matter of time. On April 11, police dragged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, which granted him political asylum in 2012. He was arrested for breaking bail, after UK courts ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden for questioning in a sexual assault case - which Assange claimed was a ploy to have him extradited to the US. He was found guilty and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison, but that’s nothing compared to what he faces in the United States. On May 23, Assange was indicted for publishing sensitive and stolen information. Now facing 18 federal charges, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. His extradition hearing is scheduled for February 2020.
El Chapo Is Found Guilty
For over a decade, drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán evaded the largest manhunt in Mexican history, all while overseeing the world’s biggest drug empire. In 2016, he was finally arrested - for the THIRD time - and eventually extradited to the US to face a multitude of charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking, homicide, and kidnapping. Jurors had to be kept anonymous due to his history of having them killed. In February 12, 2019, he was found guilty of all 10 counts, and faces life in prison. And with that, the most powerful, dangerous, and notorious drug trafficker in the world was defeated at last. Of course, this isn’t the first time he’s been locked up . . .
The Mueller Report
It was the moment of truth! Or at least, it was supposed to be. In 2017, Robert Mueller was tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and possible obstruction of justice during subsequent investigations. Well, on March 22, 2019, Mueller submitted his answer . . . and boy, was it anticlimactic. He found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia - so we still don’t know why aides lied about their contacts with Russians. And he decided that it wasn’t up to him to rule on obstruction - instead providing potential “episodes” for Congress. Barr’s brief summary further frustrated many, as did Trump’s invocation of executive privilege over redactions. However, Mueller did confirm . . . again . . . that Russia interfered in the election, so that’s something, we guess.
The Nairobi DusitD2 Complex Attack
Somalia’s Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has a history of terrorist attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which in 2011 sent troops across the border to push them back. Instead, Al-Shabaab escalated attacks, killing 67 in a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013, and 148 in the Garissa University shooting of 2015. The conflict worsened again on January 15, when Al-Shabaab attacked a hotel and office complex in Kenya’s capital. The shooting and bombing left 21 civilians dead and a further 28 injured. Al-Shabaab later took credit for the attack, citing Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel back in December of 2017.
Alabama’s Anti-Abortion Bill
Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act is one of the most controversial bills in decades. Signed into law on May 15, it bars doctors from performing abortions and threatens them with life imprisonment. The only exception to the bill is if the mother is in danger or if the child has a “lethal anomaly.” As such, it excludes pregnancies resulting from incest and rape. The bill resulted in an enormous amount of backlash, as opponents consider it too restrictive and even unconstitutional. Alabama’s governor, Kay Ivey, admitted that the bill may be unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade, but hopes to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court.
The Christchurch Tragedy
On March 15, 2019, a gunman entered Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opened fire during Friday prayers. He then drove to Linwood Islamic Centre and opened fire again. Using semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, the shooter killed 51 people and injured a further 49. To make matters worse, he live-streamed the attack over Facebook, and despite attempts to remove the video, it was widely circulated and shared. Police arrested a 28-year old white supremacist from Australia, who pleaded not guilty to the charges - which include murder, attempted murder, and terrorism. His trial is set for May, 2020. In response to the attack, New Zealand amended its Arms Act of 1983 and banned semi-automatic firearms and magazines.
Grounding the Boeing 737 MAX
Initially, the Federal Aviation Administration reaffirmed the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX even after the second plane crash in four months. In both the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in 2018, which killed 189 people, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash in March 2019, which killed 157, pilots were unable to pull the Boeing 737 MAX out of abrupt dives. Evidence soon emerged of a pattern, and by March 13, the FAA made an about turn, officially grounding the aircraft. Blame was placed on a newly implemented automated feature supposed to help stabilize the plane. Boeing didn’t tell the pilots about this new feature, and even excluded it from the flying manuals. Blame was also placed on the FAA, as they approved the omission and delegated safety inspections to Boeing.
Before we look at another huge event of 2019, here are a few honorable mentions.
The Jussie Smollett Case
British PM Theresa May Resigns
First Image of a Black Hole
Yellow Vest Protests
One Million Species Threatened with Extinction
The planet’s biodiversity is in serious trouble. Back in May, the United Nations released a damning report claiming that up to one million species may face extinction thanks to human activity such as deforestation, pollution, and overfishing. This includes 40% of amphibian species, one third of all reef-forming corals, and one third of all marine mammals. Fortunately, it’s not too late to save the world, but unfortunately, we only have a few years to completely overhaul our economic systems, policies, and manufacturing. In the words of Sir Robert Watson, who headed the report: “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life.” If we don’t act soon, we’re all in deep, deep trouble.